Do travel agents still exist? Because, you know, the Internet! This is the number one question I’m asked when people learn I am a Travel Advisor. Here are several benefits for clients choosing to use a Travel Advisor to help plan their trips:
First, Travel Advisors help clients choose a destination and how best to experience it. I’ve been to many destinations – but if not, I’ve got trusted colleagues who have, as well a host of research resources to draw on for my clients’ behalf. In order to match my clients with a great experience, I take time to get to know them. I hate to see people spend money on an experience they don’t enjoy, or have a subpar vacation, even if it was presented as a steal of a deal.
Second, Travel Advisors save clients time and hassle. The Internet is called the Information Highway for a reason, but it’s a double-edged sword, and it may be difficult to know what's accurate. My knowledge and experience allow me to quickly assess available options. I love sitting on hold (said no one, ever!) – but as their Travel Advisor, my clients can outsource this time consuming and sometimes frustrating task to me.
Third, Travel Advisors may be able to get their clients special treatment they can't find on their own. Thanks to my relationships with travel suppliers, I can often get amenities, upgrades and other special VIP touches that my clients don't have access to. So while some DIY vacationers may pat themselves on the back for saving $100, it’s not unusual for my clients to enjoy special perks worth more, and adding an extra touch to their experience.
Fourth, the job of a Travel Advisor does not end when the client has booked travel. I go the extra mile to find great restaurants I know they will love and book reservations, recommend and book extra special activities (for example, golf tee times, shore excursions, food experiences, day trips out of city, etc.) I do my best to prepare my clients for travel, to minimize surprises. I confirm that passports are current (and whether visas or other extras are needed,) help them with packing advice, and even tipping guidelines.
Fifth, Your Travel Advisor reads through the fine print, so you don’t have to. There are myriad rules imposed on the traveling public by airlines, hotel companies and tour operators, frequently resulting in fees for change or cancellation, as well as defining their obligation to the traveler in the event of an unforeseen circumstance, which might disrupt travel. I review this language and interpret terms and conditions for my clients, to assist them with making a fully-informed purchase decision. Additionally Travel Advisors have access to dedicated travel insurance companies with products that are often less expensive and more comprehensive than those offered by an airline or tour company.
Bonus – Have you ever tried to organize a trip for a group of people? Traveling with a group (family, friends, people with a common interest, etc.) is a wonderful way to experience a destination but it can quickly become complicated. You can delegate planning a group trip to a Travel Advisor, who will track all travelers and associated bookings, payment deadlines, documentation requirements, etc. It’s not unusual for travel companies to offer special perks when a group travels together!
Finally, your Travel Advisor is a phone call away. If my clients experience unexpected challenges during their travel, they know they need just to phone or text me, and I will work to resolve the issue. Have you ever sought help from one of the online mega-agencies? If so, you understand the value proposition here!